Jul 06

Raspberry Pi Telescope Control

I have a Raspberry Pi which I received as a vExpert gift from SimpliVity a couple years ago. Over the 4th of July weekend I started tinkering with it to use it to interface with Stellarium in order to remotely control my telescope.


I had a spare 8 GB SD card and I installed the Raspbian image on the card, booted, and configured the Raspberry Pi.

I also had an old USB to Serial adapter (which actually does not work with Windows 7/8, but the Raspberry Pi recognized it without issue) which is connected to one of the USB ports on the Raspberry Pi.

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Jul 01

vCenter 5.5 Tasks to Excel

Disclaimer: This is likely unsupported. I am doing this on my lab environment and have not experienced any issues, but again it is a lab environment. With that said use do the things in this post at your own risk.

I received an inquiry about ways to get information about vCenter tasks other than just through the vSphere Client. Specifically to make it easier to filter through the tasks to determine who did what, or even how many times a specific task (such as cloning a VM) was done.

Here are the tasks displayed in the vSphere Client.
By default the number of tasks returned is 100 (I think). From the vSphere Web Client the Tasks list also only shows 100 tasks per page by default. There is a search/filter box in both clients but they are pretty basic. You cannot do complex searches, for example, cloning done by a certain user.

VPX_TASK table in the vCenter Database contains all the tasks which have not be purged based on the Database Retention policy (The Database Retention Policy is configured in Administration -> vCenter Server Settings -> Database Retention Policy).
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Jun 17

PowerCLI: Create vCenter Role and Assign User Permissions

Enjoyed SimpliVity SA new hire training over the last week and a half. Enjoyed the time with the SimpliVity team, still a lot to learn. Great company, cool tech, awesome folks.

With out going too deep, part of a SimpliVity deployment is preparing the VMware environment. Preparing the VMware environment includes creating a Role including the necessary Privileges and setting up the required permission in vCenter for a SimpliVity user. This is easy enough, but I created a PowerCLI script which creates a Role, applies the required Privileges to the Role, and applies the Role to a user as a permission in vCenter.

Even though I created this script specifically around the SimpliVity user requirements, with a few simple adjustments it could be used to automate the creation of any Role and Permission.

The PowerCLI script takes three parameters, -vCenter -Username -Domain, for the vCenter Server FQDN or IP Address, the Username, and the Domain of the user to assign the role to. All of these are required.

Create_SimpliVity_Role.ps1 -vCenter vCenterFQDNorIP -Username Username -Domain AuthenticationDomain

For example:
Create_SimpliVity_Role.ps1 -vCenter vcenter.homelab.local -Username svtuser -Domain homelab

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Jun 05

A New Adventure…

A few weeks ago I accepted a new position and today is my last day with ABS Technology. ABS has been a great place to work. I have learned a lot over the past couple years. I have also had the opportunity to work with a lot of fantastic customers providing a wide array of data center support and solutions.

During my employment at ABS I began working on and obtained VCDX. I will be forever grateful for the support ABS provided as I worked towards obtaining this personal goal.

On Monday I start work as a Solutions Architect for SimpliVity.
The SimpliVity solution and their hyperconvergence vision is extremely interesting to me. The next few weeks will be busy with training and learning the new role. I can’t wait to get started working with the SimpliVity team and I am very excited to start this next chapter in my career.

I will miss the ABS family, especially the Data Center Team, but I am looking forward to what the future holds…

Jun 03

vCenter Settings and Alarm Configurations with PowerCLI

A quick PowerCLI script I put together to set a few of the General vCenter Configuration Settings such as the SMTP Server and port, the from email for messages generated by vCenter alarms, and setting the database retention policies for tasks and events.


The script also configures the email action on a configured set of predefined alarms.

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May 22

PowerCLI to change the Discovered virtual machine folder name

Are you bothered by the name of the default “Discovered virtual machine” folder in VMs and Templates? If there is more than one VM in the Folder shouldn’t it be “Discovered virtual machines”? But… what if there is only one VM in the folder then “Discovered virtual machines” would be wrong, crap.

Saw this tweet from @jasonboche earlier (Follow him, cause he is pretty awesome).
Apparently this is a real world problem :)

So just messing around (because it is better than work on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend) I put together a little PowerCLI to help out.
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May 21

VCP6-DCV Delta Study – Section 4 – Objective 4.2

This post covers Section 4, Upgrade a vSphere Deployment, Objective 4.2, Perform vCenter Server Upgrades

The vSphere Knowledge covered in this objective:

  • Identify steps required to upgrade a vSphere implementation
  • Identify upgrade requirements for vCenter
  • Upgrade vCenter Server Appliance (VCA)
  • Identify the methods of upgrading vCenter
  • Identify/troubleshoot vCenter upgrade errors

Objective 4.2 VMware Resources:

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May 21

VCP6 Foundation Section 3 – vSphere Storage – vBrownBag Slide Deck

First ProfessionalVMware.com vBrownBag I have presented in a long time (over 2 years – I did not think it had been that long). I think it went pretty well. At least all the lab demos worked. Thanks out to Jonathan, @jfrappier, for hosting and thanks to everyone who listened.

Good luck to everyone preparing for their VCP6 Foundation or VCP6 DCV Exams!

As promised here is the slide deck from tonight.

vBrownBag May 20, 2015 – vSphere 6 Foundation – Section 3 – Storage – Slide Deck

If you are just looking for the links from the presentation, here they are:

VCP6 Community Resources and Study Guides:

VCP6 Foundation Exam Blueprint Resources:

Other Great Resources:

Again it has been awhile, but I had fun. Hope everyone enjoyed it. See you next time.

May 13

Deploying the EMC vVNX in the Home Lab

Last week @sakacc posted an EMC World Update about Project Liberty. This project is a software only virtual VNX appliance known as the vVNX. The appliance can be downloaded from the vVNX Download page. All the Release Notes, FAQs, and documentation can be found there also (an EMC Accont is required). The vVNX supports both block and file and is available for non-production use without any time limits. The vVNX does not support VVOLs yet, but @sakacc noted that VVOLs support should be available in Q3.

Download and import the OVA. I tried to import the OVA using the Web Client but could not get it to work. I was able to successfully deploy it using the vSphere Client (Probably an issue with my lab – not the OVA). During the OVA import you will be prompted for the management IP address, subnet, and default gateway.

The vVNX appliance is configured with 2 vCPUs, 12 GB Memory, and consumes approximately 20 GB of disk space if Thin Provisioning is used. Do not change the memory allocation, at least not before the vVNX has initialized after deployment. I tried to adjust the memory down a bit but this caused the vVNX to not initialize on first boot. I have not tried to adjust this after the deployment. The OVA deployment is pretty quick but the initialization after first power on takes a good bit of time (about 45 minutes).
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May 12

Great vSphere 6 ESXTOP Troubleshooting Poster

Great troubleshooting reference for ESXTOP on vSphere 6 hosts. Key troubleshooting metrics have been highlighted making it very easy to focus in on potential issues. Very nice work and definitely a useful resource from @lessi001.


Get the vSphere 6 ESXTOP quick overview for Troubleshooting poster here.

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